University School sophomore tennis player Maddy Ecker made school history Saturday when she defeated Green Bay Notre Dame senior Maria Koval, 7-6, 6-0, to become the Wildcats' first WIAA state D2 singles champion.
"Maddy is a coach's dream. She is dedicated, hardworking, and a team player," said Wildcats coach Julia Goldberg. "She is one of the most mentally tough players I have ever seen, she never gives up."
Ecker (28-8), the runner-up in state D2 last season, defeated opponents from Manitowoc Roncalli (6-3, 6-1), Green Bay Notre Dame (4-6, 7-6, 6-0) and Kenosha St. Joseph's (2-6, 6-2, 6-0) before beating Koval (23-9) in the event held at Nielsen Stadium in Madison.
Koval did Ecker a huge favor in the semifinals, defeating defending state champion Shannon Etten of Appleton Xavier, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Ecker lost to Etten in straight sets in last year's final.
With the title, Ecker joins USM's 2007 state doubles champions Sarah Vandenberg and Saira Khanna in the school's small, elite club of WIAA individual titlists.
"I'm so proud that all her hard work paid off, no one deserves to be a state champion more than Maddy," Goldberg said.
In addition, the USM top doubles team of Lucy Bartlett and Riley Kelly (31-5) earned fifth, going 4-1 for the tournament, while the second team of Shannon Cary and Ellie Wigdale (22-10) went 1-1 in their state action. Second singles player Becca Buchanan (23-10) also went 1-1 in the tournament.
The Wildcats will now take part in the WIAA team tournament Saturday back at Nielsen. The two-time USM squad will face off against Notre Dame in a 9 a.m. semifinal.
USM has lost to Notre Dame in each of the last two state D2 finals, last year by a 5-2 score.
The championship match is at 2 p.m. The other semifinal features Eau Claire Regis and Madison Edgewood.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Cooperation helped Whitefish Bay softball tourney work despite weather
- Veteran Shorewood netters claim Woodland dual meet crown
- Sports wraps: May 15
- Shorewood thinclads combine for eight firsts in Woodland Outdoor track
- NSC tennis race too close to call as tourney looms this weekend
- A 'true' team effort nets the Homestead girls track squad a title at the Cedarburg True Team Invite
- OUR TAKE
- Sports Shorts: May 7
- Everyone pulls together to make 'Sweet 16' tennis tournament work
- Whitefish Bay close second in NSC girls track relays